We just returned from a 2 week trip to Oahu and Kauai on 8/1/13, and Susan Tanzman helped plan the entire trip. Beginning with a phone call in early June, Susan was able to glean from us what our expectations and hopes were. She absolutely helped us choose the right hotels and activities during our stay.
The St. Regis Princeville suite was truly one of a kind. Waking up on the first morning to see a rainbow spanning Hanalei Bay was remarkable. The butler service at the hotel was outstanding, although we didn't use them to their full potential. A getaway to this hotel in paradise leaves you wishing and wanting to extend or return for another visit. The staff was outstanding, always making us feel like we were the only guests at their hotel.
We had to experience a Luau, and Susan chose the "Smiths Family Luau". Smith you say, doesn't sound native? Rest assured, this family is truly from Hawaii, and they are in to the 2nd or 3rd generation of family members running and hosting the event. The Me was seen busing tables with the rest of the staff as the night went on. Good Polynesian show, completely worth the very reasonable fare charged.
My wife is terrified when flying, but we did have Susan set up a helicopter tour of Kauai. There is only one operator that is allowed to land at (aka "The Jurassic Falls"). You guessed it, that's the tour we were on. What an experience, dropping down from 2000 feet to land in an area the size of a picnic table, you walk about 100 yards to the actual falls. Helicopter is the only way to access this area, as it is privately owned. After spending 20 minutes or so taking photographs and listening for dinosaurs, we soared off to the west side of the island, flying over Waimea Canyon. After the canyon, you pop out on to the Na Pali coast. Absolutely breathtaking, not many other ways to describe this deserted and hard to access part of Kauai.
The only real problem on Kauai was deciding what time to leave the pool/beach area at the hotel. Very relaxing and laid back.
Flew in to Honolulu on Saturday afternoon, Susan had us booked at the Kahala Hotel and Resort. The hotel has a very private feel, away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. The limousine driver that picked us up from the airport had lived on Oahu all his life, and gave us a great tour through Waikiki and other parts of town you would not find if traffic wasn't horrible.
The staff at the Kahala was equal to or slightly better than the folks at the SI. Regis. They addressed every need promptly, and we were escorted to our suite by the hotel manager. Arriving in the room, we were able to see the ocean, Koko Head, and the Kahala dolphins in their pond below. These dolphins were interesting and fun to watch, but we had no idea what was in store the next morning.
Susan booked us on a "Wildside" tour, where we got to snorkel with spinner dolphins and sea turtles. Truly a lifetime experience and we enjoyed it with a family from Denmark. There were only 6 passengers on the boat, and we had plenty of time to have questions answered and to see everything we wanted during the tour. Exceeded our expectations, and would do it again up on our return.
We were also set up to take a tour of Pearl Harbor, and Susan had the tour company pick us up at the hotel. Great day, getting to see the history of the and the battleship Missouri. Definitely the tourist thing to do on Oahu.
The last few days were spent without much of an itinerary, although we quickly discovered that when traveling the south coast to the east coast, do not miss an opportunity to pullover and take in the sights at every location that is marked. Fantastic scenery and getting to watch the surfers during Tropical Storm Flossie made the waves that much better. Found the shrimp trucks on the north shore the next day, what a great lunch and fun time. Only regret is that we didn't have time to snorkel near Shark Cove, we'll have to do that the next time.
Anyone considering a trip to Hawaii would be well served to allow Susan Tanzman and Martin Travel assist with their planning. One stop, very easy, and they know what they're doing.